Chone Figgins Rumors
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka may be the next Japanese pitcher to turn a strong World Baseball Classic performance into a nine-figure Major League contract, ESPN's C.J. Nitkowski writes (Insider subscription required). Tanaka, 24, has a 2.50 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 4.34 K/BB ratio in 1103 IP over six seasons with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tanaka has expressed interest in pitching in North America and is three years away from international free agency, though Rakuten could open the posting process before then.
Here's the latest from around the majors...
- The Padres are starting to listen to offers for Chase Headley, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports. The Padres tabled extension talks with Headley earlier this winter after the two sides were far apart on terms. The third baseman is under contract through the 2014 season and Madden argues that the Yankees should make a move for a young star like Headley or Giancarlo Stanton in order to bolster the lineup and ensure the team will contend this year.
- "The fact is, this is the right time to trade Stanton. He’s never going to have more value than this," a Marlins operative tells Madden, arguing that such an unpopular move can't hurt a team that is already at rock bottom in terms of public perception. “I understand Jeffrey [Loria]’s getting killed in Miami over blowing up the team this winter and why he doesn’t want to trade Stanton. But how much more can we get killed? He’s already had some injury issues, and we’re never going to sign him to a long-term deal," Madden's source said.
- Carl Crawford criticized the Boston media and told CBS Sports' Danny Knobler that he erred in signing with the Red Sox in the 2010-11 offseason. "It just wasn't the right place for me at the end of my day. I didn't do my homework. Maybe they didn't, either," Crawford said.
- If the Tigers do acquire a reliever, MLB.com's Jason Beck believes such a deal isn't likely until nearer to the end of Spring Training when other teams have their own bullpen situations settled.
- Chone Figgins feels a lack of playing time exacerbated his struggles with the Mariners and is looking forward to seeing more action playing under NL rules with the Marlins, The Associated Press reports.
- Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster have both looked good in Spring Training and the Red Sox could reap more than financial benefits from last summer's trade with the Dodgers if these two young pitchers develop, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes. Tomase also talks to Rays manager Joe Maddon about how the Rays were targeting De La Rosa before L.A. dealt him to Boston.
As players, coaches, and front office personnel begin to arrive in Florida and Arizona for Spring Training 2013, let's take a look at the news and notes from the National League:
- The Phillies were surprised Ben Revere was available and, in fact, it was the Twins who brought his name up in trade talks after dealing Denard Span to the Nationals, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
- Within the same article, Brookover writes the struggles of Domonic Brown were one reason the Phillies were forced to alter their offseason blueprint. "We were hopeful that Domonic would lock down one of those corner outfield spots," GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He did not do that. He still may do that...but we can't necessarily count on that to happen. Because of that, then we were kind of filling all three outfield positions."
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon provided additional contract details for some of the players the Reds have signed within the last month including right-hander Logan Ondrusek, who has more than two dozen different escalators, incentives, and bonuses written into the two-year deal he signed last month.
- Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, and Jeff Francis are near locks for the first four slots in the Rockies' starting rotation leaving Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich, Tyler Chatwood and Chris Volstad jockeying for the fifth spot, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- MLB.com's Thomas Harding tweets the candidates for the Rockies' rotation change daily, but the final two spots could come down to Nicasio, Pomeranz, and Chatwood.
- Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, envisions the recently signed Chone Figgins in a Alfredo Amezaga-type role, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. Amezaga played every position, except pitcher and catcher, during his four-year stint in Miami.
The Marlins signed utility player Chone Figgins to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports (on Twitter). ACES represents Figgins, who was released by the Mariners with one year remaining on his contract earlier this winter.
Figgins signed a four-year, $36MM deal with the Mariners after the 2009 season but hit just .227/.302/.283 in three seasons with the team. He is still owed $8MM for 2013, a sum for which the Mariners will mostly remain responsible. The Marlins will presumably pay Figgins the MLB minimum salary if he makes the team.
Figgins posted a .181/.262/.271 batting line in 194 plate appearances with the Mariners last year. He played all three outfield positions and appeared at third base.
The Phillies, who have openings at third base and in the outfield, checked in with the recently released Chone Figgins, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. However, the extent of the club's interest is unclear at this time. More from around baseball..
- No less than seven teams have interest in right-hander Mike Pelfrey, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Mets non-tendered Pelfrey last week but they still have interest in re-signing him for less than the $5.875MM he earned last season.
- The Twins don't want to trade Josh Willingham but there are multiple teams interested in the leftfielder, according to Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). An AL executive recently told Mackey that the club might not get much more than a No. 4 starter for Willingham, despite his team-friendly contract. Willingham is owed $14MM through 2014.
- Rays GM Andrew Friedman figures to be a popular man during the meetings as he may dangle James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson to acquire offense, Morosi writes.
- The Mariners need to increase their risk tolerance if they hope to take a major step forward at this week's meetings, opines Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. For the M's, that could mean spending a lot more money on payroll or trading away young prospects for proven players.
- One exec tells Morosi (via Twitter) that this year's Rule 5 draft class is one of the best that he has seen. The draft will take place on Thursday.
Figgins signed a four-year, $36MM deal with the Mariners after the 2009 season but hit just .227/.302/.283 in three seasons with the team. He is still owed $8MM for 2013, a sum that the Mariners will be responsible for. If another team signs Figgins, that team would only be responsible for paying him the MLB minimum salary, so the Mariners can't hope to save more than $490K.
Mark Polishuk contributed to this post.
It was on this day in 1995 that Joe Girardi first became a Yankee, as the Bronx Bombers acquired the catcher from the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Mike DeJean. Girardi won three World Series titles in his four seasons with the team as a player and won another championship as the team's manager in 2009. Here are some items from around the majors...
- Chone Figgins is "not likely to be a fit" for the Angels, a team source tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Figgins spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Angels before signing with the Mariners as a free agent and badly struggling for the last three seasons. Seattle designated Figgins for assignment earlier today.
- The Red Sox have called about Kyle Lohse, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe as part of a reader mailbag. Cafardo says Boston is trying to sign a first baseman or starting pitcher in free agency, and is looking to add a starter, shortstop or outfielder on the trade market.
- The Red Sox are still interested in Josh Hamilton, with GM Ben Cherington calling the outfielder "a terrific talent" in an interview with Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (via Bowden's Twitter page).
- The Red Sox "made a really strong push" to sign Hiroki Kuroda before the right-hander re-signed with the Yankees, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford (Twitter link).
- Brandon McCarthy is a singular free agent case and it's hard to predict his next contract given the unique circumstances of his season-ending brain injury, writes Jeff Sullivan for Fangraphs.
- The price tags for free agent outfielders are rising, so ESPN's Buster Olney (ESPN Insider subscription required) lists a few outfield options that could provide better value in trades: Shin-Soo Choo, Dexter Fowler, Curtis Granderson, Alfonso Soriano and Justin Upton.
The Mariners have designated Chone Figgins and Scott Cousins for assignment, according to a team press release. In corresponding moves, Julio Morban, Brandon Maurer, Vinnie Catricala, Anthony Fernandez and Bobby LaFromboise have all been selected to Seattle's 40-man roster.
The move all but officially ends Figgins' disastrous tenure in Seattle. Figgins signed a four-year, $36MM deal with the M's after the 2009 season but hit just .227/.302/.283 in three seasons with the team. He is still owed $8MM for 2013, a sum that the Mariners will have to almost entirely cover since no club is likely to take on anything more than the minimum if they agree to acquire Figgins in a trade over the allotted 10-day DFA period. Despite Figgins' poor recent form and his age (35 in January), he is likely to catch on with another team due to his versatility and a possible belief that Figgins just needs a change of scenery to again be productive.
Cousins was claimed by the Mariners two weeks ago. It has already been a busy offseason for Cousins, who was waived by the Marlins and then claimed by the Blue Jays, who designated him for assignment at the end of October. The outfielder has a .523 OPS in 188 career plate appearances with the Marlins since 2010.
Three quarters of the way through a disappointing four-year contract, Chone Figgins wants out of Seattle. The 34-year-old utility player told John Hickey of SportsPressNW.com that he’d prefer not to play for the Mariners any longer (Twitter link).
"I can't take two more years of this," Figgins said.
Figgins' four-year, $36MM contract includes an $8MM salary in 2013 and a $9MM vesting option for 2014. He appeared in 66 games this year, posting a .181/.262/.271 batting line in 194 plate appearances. Figgins played third base and all three outfield positions, but appeared in Just four games from September on.
Indians starter Corey Kluber will look to shut down the Twins tonight and end Cleveland's ten-game losing streak. Kluber will face an offense that ranks 12th in MLB in runs scored (though they do much of their hitting at home, as Dave Cameron noted today). In the meantime, here are today's links...
- The Mariners would have to absorb about $10MM in salary if they released Chone Figgins, but they should remove him from the roster anyway, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes.
- Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that he owes it to his teammates to focus on his game, rather than the trade chatter that often surrounds him. He might have to face another round of trade rumors this offseason, if the Diamondbacks decide they'll listen to trade offers for him again a few months from now.
- The Orioles are discussing trade possibilities regarding Endy Chavez, but they think he could stay in the organization, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (Twitter links). Instead of trading the recently-designated outfielder, the Orioles could demote him to Triple-A with the expectation of calling him up when rosters expand in September.
The Phillies acquired Hunter Pence from the Astros for prospects Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and Josh Zeid and a player to be named later on this date last year. Here are the latest links as we look forward to yet another busy trade deadline...
- The Twins are listening to offers for Denard Span, but won’t move him unless they get a Major League starter in return, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter).
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams says the White Sox are still looking to add, Nightengale reports (on Twitter). The White Sox, who traded forFrancisco Liriano last night, would look to acquire a position player this time, Nightengale writes.
- Alfonso Soriano, Cliff Lee and Ervin Santana are among the players who could clear waivers and be traded in August, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports.
- Willie Bloomquist, Brendan Ryan and Ty Wigginton are thought to be on the Yankees' long list of potential infield options, Heyman reports. Yunel Escobar, Chone Figgins, Jose Lopez and Cody Ransom are also thought to be on New York's list.
- One team that’s spoken with the Mariners reports that "they want everybody," Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets.